It’s not as if robotic cats are out to keep you from gaining knowledge about certain SolidWorks drawing features, but with their hollow gaze and reduced allergens they certainly would have that power in the right cubicle space.

While they’re indeed much more adorable than a stodgy, ol’ FeatureManager in SolidWorks, they won’t provide you near the amount of functionality to complete a drawing in record time. What could these powerful features be? Drawing features, accessed directly via the FeatureManager in a Drawing.

But the drawing’s FeatureManager is useless… just shows the sheets, right? Ahhh, NO. It’s packed with ways to make drawings easier to manage and here’s how you can use it.

It’s over to the right… to the right… give me the freagin’ mouse.
It seems something has hypnotized many SolidWorks users into believing, or just accepting, that the FeatureManager in SolidWorks isn’t all that useful. Maybe it’s those dang cats. But it’s there, and there are a lot of ways drawings can move along faster by using a few commands via the FeatureManager.

At first it looks like it just sheets for the drawing, but if you expand each item, you’ll eventually see that your model, along with all the wonderful parts and sub-assemblies exist over there… for each drawing view too.

Some of these commands can be accessed on the drawing itself. However, these in particular are easier used through the FeatureManager. Most will be accessed through the Right mouse button (RMB).

    General Functionality

  1. Collapse Items – Collapses Feature Manager
  2. Tree Display – Allows you to shows names/descriptions of your model items
  3. Link external dim text– Adds text you add to dims back into your part or assembly
  4. Move… – Allows you to move the sheet form X and Y
  5. Blocks – Folder that allows you to view, insert and create blocks
  6. Annotations – Folder that allows you to quickly set option for annotations
  7. Sheets

  8. Move Sheets – Drag and Drop sheets to rearrange
  9. Set Lightweight to Resolve – Easily set all views to resolve
  10. Sheet Formats

  11. Define Title Block – Set up a Title Block
  12. Delete Sheet Format – Removes the sheet format completely
  13. Set Anchor – Set table anchors for Rev, BOM and other tables

  15. Zoom to Selection – Quicker if you set up a shortcut key, but this is also available
  16. Move views to new sheet – Drag and drop views into new sheets
  17. Tables

  18. Show Table – Right click on table to show them if hidden
  19. Model Items

  20. Parent/Child – View Parent/Child relation of parts/assemblies
  21. Component Line Font – Change parts to phantom or other line fonts
  22. Show Hidden Edges – show hidden lines of parts you can’t access on screen
  23. Hide Component – Hide parts you can’t access on screen
  24. Open Part – Open parts you can’t access on screen
  25. Zoom to Selection – Zoom to unknown parts in views
  26. Planes – Show planes to reference, move or resize
  27. Dimensioning – Expand to view planes/origins to dimension
  28. Show Sketches – Show sketches for reference of dimensioning

Have any others? I’m typically against working from the FeatureManager as much as possible. That’s easier in the models with the available context menus, but for drawings, you can get a lot done from the FeatureManager… as long as you know what you can do with it. What other things do you use the Drawing FeatureManager for?


Josh is founder and editor at, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.